There has been enough talk about how the number of engineers that India produces is nowhere close to the number of jobs that are there in the market. This is truer for core streams of engineering like mechanical engineering.
The number of core jobs available for mechanical engineering graduates are few. As a result, excepting the few students who do get placed in technical companies of their choice, fresh graduates either end up getting absorbed in the IT sector, which is not their core stream, or they spend months looking for a suitable opportunity. It is not a very promising situation even after they do find a job, since the potential for growth is limited without further education or upskilling. In addition, due to a limited number of jobs, competition for senior roles is high.
All these factors point towards a dire need for an alternate career option that can ensure that mechanical engineers stay step ahead—building new skills while still making use of their subject of study. This is where facilities management presents itself as a perfect opportunity.
What is facilities management and why is it relevant?
Facilities management (along with the related field of corporate real estate) refers to the management of all services, physical assets and infrastructure that the organization possesses to support its core businesses.
As the Indian economy is growing at a rapid, almost consistent speed, global corporate giants are making their headway into more and more cities. While earlier it was just the major metro cities, now tier-2 and even tier-3 cities are being looked at sites for building expansive infrastructure and campuses by MNCs.
Another reality of the market is that the prices of real estate are increasing, so organizations are also looking seriously at cost-effective and more productive ways of utilizing spaces and managing them effectively. Facilities management is therefore indispensable to many organizations, since it helps in optimizing productivity and efficiency. This sector, thus, presents a platform for constant learning opportunities, a clear career path and an enjoyable, rewarding workplace for professionals who decide to build a career in it.
But why should mechanical engineers opt for it?
Becoming a facilities manager is a viable career option for mechanical engineers as they have an edge over others when it comes to technical skills. Facilities management utilizes and enhances the technical understanding of the mechanical engineers as they gain expertise by closely monitoring & controlling the operation of HVAC, DG, pumps, cooling tower, water treatment, energy conservation and electrical distribution systems and more.
By choosing to become a facilities manager, a mechanical engineer is looking at a career that will take their existing skills and make them industry-ready professionals by honing their overall personalities. Facilities managers get to work in world-class infrastructure spaces, interact with people from different departments and get to be a part of a dynamic profession. It is very different from the site job of an engineer and has immense scope for growth.
It is also worth mentioning that facilities management is a relatively recession-proof career. Even during a slow growth period, when no new infrastructure is being built, the existing infrastructure of any kind will always require maintenance and upkeep. This is why facilities managers will almost always be in demand.
A mechanical engineer who chooses to build a career in facilities management will make use of the skills that he or she has gained during their course of undergraduate study. In addition, they will not only get to be an integral part of the way in which our society and workspaces are changing and evolving, they will also help lead this change and define its direction.